GIVING BEGINS WITH AFFINITY. Our life experience usually informs the things we care about. As we gain a deeper understanding of giving over time, we move away from pure affinity, but it’s a foundational step of making philanthropy a lifelong habit. We are what we repeatedly do. And it isn’t just about giving more. AContinue reading “Doing a lot with a little.”
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THE SOUND OF MY phone vibrating jolted me out of a dead sleep. “Hello,” I mumbled groggily. “Hi Chris. I’m sorry to bother you so late.” It was Lindsey, one of our longtime staff members. Her voice was shaking. “I wanted to let you know there’s been an incident.” I woke up in a hurry.Continue reading “Mitten Strong.”
The Power of Support.
GIVING HAS BEEN A part of The Mitten Brewing Company since the very beginning, but it took us a while to learn how to do it right. We began (as most organizations do) with affinity; in our case, we partnered with organizations that our investors chose. And this was a good way to get started—itContinue reading “The Power of Support.”
The Last Straw.
Plastic straw bans may be flawed and practically inconsequential, but they’re a flash point in the battle to change the way big companies behave. “EXCUSE ME, BUT YOU forgot to give us water,” the woman at table nine said to her server. Like many restaurant customers, she possessed the expectation that water is always servedContinue reading “The Last Straw.”
A Free Lunch.
The summer of 2019 was the best yet at The Mitten Brewing Company Northport. Ten months out of the year, Northport is a scenic but sleepy town at the northernmost tip of Michigan’s Leelanau Peninsula. But in July and August, it swells with tourists, and our fourth summer saw sales up almost 25 percent fromContinue reading “A Free Lunch.”
Mental Health and the Entrepreneur.
“I suffer from depression. I have a beautiful, loving wife and two incredible children. I own a successful business with my friend Max and we employ nearly 100 people. But I struggle with inadequacy and constant feelings of dread. I have amazing, supportive and caring friends. I have a loving family and I want forContinue reading “Mental Health and the Entrepreneur.”
When “Politics” Isn’t.
OUR MANAGER WALKED UP to me. “I need to talk to you about something.” He showed me a small rainbow sticker. “One of the staff members stuck this to the wall behind the bar. I’m not sure it’s a good idea to make political statements inside the pub.” I agreed. “Let’s take it down,” IContinue reading “When “Politics” Isn’t.”
The Overhead Myth.
There is an implacable, deeply-rooted idea about nonprofits: that they should be lean and grateful for any help they can get, no matter how small. Nonsense. In his now famous 2013 Ted Talk, philanthropist Dan Pallotta elegantly dismantled the long-held notion that a charity’s overhead is a measure of its worthiness. We encounter this misconceptionContinue reading “The Overhead Myth.”
MONOCULTURE: The Diversity Failures of Craft.
Monoculture farming is a widely used but problematic practice. The cultivation of one crop in a farming system at a time increases yields and reduces costs, but it comes at a price. These crops are particularly susceptible to pests and disease. Not to mention unsustainable—the repetition rapidly depletes the environment, discouraging healthy growth as timeContinue reading “MONOCULTURE: The Diversity Failures of Craft.”
Calling out Karen.
IT WAS AN HOUR or so before dinner rush when I walked into the pub for my after-shift beer, or “shifty.” I noticed the servers were huddled by the server station comforting Rachel, one of our newer team members. The manager told me there had been a bad interaction with a customer the night beforeContinue reading “Calling out Karen.”